The hip-hop mogul says he is "sincerely sorry" for the controversial video.
(Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for TWC)
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons has issued an apology for a video of Harriet Tubman that left many outraged for its portrayal of the historical figure. Since Wednesday, Simmons has been in hot water for a "Harriet Tubman Sex Tape" parody that was posted to his new All Def Digital YouTube channel.
Tubman is known as one of the most important figures in American history for guiding more than 300 slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad and never losing a passenger.
Simmons said he has never removed a video of a comedian in the history of Def Comedy Jam, but after he was contacted by the NAACP he took it down.
"I’m a very liberal person with thick skin. My first impression of the Harriet Tubman piece was that it was about what one of actors said in the video, that 162 years later, there’s still tremendous injustice," he said in an apology issued on his website GlobalGrind.com.
He added that he felt that the portrayal of Harriet Tubman outwitting the slave master in the video was "politically correct."
"I can now understand why so many people are upset. I have taken down the video. Lastly, I would never condone violence against women in any form, and for all of those I offended, I am sincerely sorry," he said.
A firestorm started on Twitter as the "sex tape" got around. Many said it was offensive to Tubman's legacy.
"Rape isn’t a joke. Slavery isn’t a joke. Harriet Tubman and her sacrifices for black people are not a joke," writes Demetria Lucas for TheGrio.com.
Media pundit Marc Lamont Hill commented on the quality of the video and said it wasn't funny. "First of all, the Harriet Tubman video wasn't even funny. On a basic artistic level, it wasn't well done. @UncleRUSHMedia," he wrote on Twitter Thursday.
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